As the story opens, Miss Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie) has just inherited a farm and has decided to run it herself, a very unusual thing in Victorian England. She is being courted by a poor shepherd (Alan Bates) and a wealthy old bachelor (Peter Finch), but she's drawn to the dashing, unscrupulous Sgt. Troy (Terence Stamp).
The actors were all perfectly cast: Christie is impossibly young and beautiful and full of spunk; it's easy to imagine falling under her spell. Alan Bates plays the hardworking, salt of the earth farmer to perfection and Finch is quite touching as the shy but longing landowner. Terence Stamp really shines as the passionate and cruel soldier who steals Bathsheba's heart.
The Dorset location photography is lovely, with sweeping vistas showing the changing seasons and the haunting score features peasant folk songs and a wistful flute. I wish there had been smoother transitions between scenes, many of which seemed too short or unfinished. Other than that, though, this is a robust and beautiful story of life and love in the country.
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